- By Sasha Klaver
- Photos Courtesy of FX
Choosing from this season’s lineup of new and returning shows can be difficult given the golden age of TV we are living in. But “FX” might as well mean “Fall X-travaganza,” heralded in large part by the return of American Horror Story: Hotel, and Fargo.
Scene: Los Angeles, California…the Hotel Cortez: A mysterious location offering more than meets the eye. Owned by the even more enigmatic Countess (Lady Gaga), who has her own proclivities for the unorthodox, the Hotel Cortez is the scene of the latest installation of the smash American Horror Story (AHS) franchise, created by Brad Falchuk and Ryan Murphy. When Detective John Lowe (Wes Bentley of Hunger Games and American Beauty fame) investigates a series of brutal murders in L.A., he receives a tip that leads him behind the walls of the Cortez. And while he suspects something sinister is going on, he can’t possibly imagine what awaits the guests.
Falchuk and Murphy have noted that this season will be intertwined with the first AHS season, Murder House, with some characters making reprise appearances. And while TV audiences may find it hard to believe that the show can get any darker than seasons past, the creative duo promise that this one will go deeper, and push the envelope even further than prior installments.
And if the plot is not enough to pull you in consider the cast, with many familiar faces and one newcomer stand-out at the top of that very long list—Lady Gaga, who by all accounts is going to blow audiences out of their seats. Calling Gaga “one of the great professional joys in my life,” Murphy recalled how the avante-garde-turned-jazz-diva chanteuse called him to ask for a part on AHS, to which he replied, “OK.” And that was that. But who could disagree? If anyone knows how to turn the bizarre into beautiful—if dark—art, it is Gaga.
Finally, there is a bedrock foundation of returning players this season, with Sarah Paulson, Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, Chloë Sevigny, Denis O’Hare, Cheyenne Jackson, Evan Peters, Finn Wittrock, Matt Bomer, Emma Roberts and Lily Rabe rounding out this powerhouse ensemble cast. But the question on everyone’s lips is: “Will Jessica Lange check in to the Hotel Cortez?” The only way to find out is to tune in!
Moving northeast from LA about 1,600 miles one comes upon the small city of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. A pretty city on the plains, home to Midwestern values and folk, nothing too out of the mainstream happens here. Except murder. Following on the heels of the breakaway season one hit Fargo, audience members wondered, “Ok…the murder is solved. Where can this go now?” The answer? It can go backwards in time.
Taking place in 1979, the second season of Fargo follows the activities of State Trooper Lou Solverson (Patrick Wilson) as he investigates a crime perpetrated by a local gang and crime syndicate. Adding to the action are the (mis)adventures of Peggy and Ed Blomquist (Kirsten Dunst and Jesse Plemons—coming off of a much lauded performance in Black Mass—respectively), the blind ambition of Floyd Gerhardt (Jean Smart) and the small town sensibilities of Sheriff Hank Larsson (Ted Danson). And while the daily grind of life in Sioux Falls and Luverne, Minnesota (another location starring in this season) doesn’t change a whole lot under normal circumstances, life is about to get very strange indeed for the people of these two fine hamlets.
Using a device frequently employed by Executive Producers Joel and Ethan Coen, Fargo opens with some startling text, repeated from season one: “This is a true story. The events depicted took place in Minnesota in 2006. At the request of the survivors, the names have been changed. Out of respect for the dead, the rest has been told exactly as it occurred.” But audiences should not be fooled…it is not based on actual events.
“American Horror Story” premieres on October 7, and “Fargo” on October 12, both on FX.